Asia

Afghanistan Islamic State leader 'killed in air strike'

A line of IS members in front of weapons Image copyright Reuters
Image caption About 150 members of the group surrendered in north-western Afghanistan this month

The leader of the Islamic State (IS) group in Afghanistan was killed in an air strike on Saturday, Afghan officials say.

Abu Saad Erhabi and 10 other members are said to have died in an operation in the eastern province of Nangarhar, near the border with Pakistan.

He is the fourth Afghan leader of the group to be killed in recent years.

The IS affiliate has been active there since 2014, claiming a number of deadly recent attacks.

It is sometimes known as Islamic State Khorasan after a historic name for Afghanistan and surrounding areas.

The National Directorate of Security in Kabul said the strikes that killed Erhabi were part of a joint air and ground operation conducted alongside US-led coalition forces.

US officials did not confirm his death but said they had conducted a strike in the area targeting "a senior leader of a designated terrorist organisation".

The previous leader of Islamic State Khorasan, Abu Sayed, was killed in a US strike on the group's headquarters in Kunar province in July 2017.

The group has been blamed for a number of attacks in Afghanistan this year - including a suicide bombing at a Kabul education centre that killed dozens of people.

The group has not commented on the reports of Erhabi's death.

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